Gov. Polis looks to expand co-op health insurance model statewide

At a news conference last week, Gov. Jared Polis announced a plan to expand a health co-op model statewide. A statewide alliance of employers, similar to Peak Health Alliance, would give organizations better leverage to negotiate health care prices for their employee plans.

Plan specifics have not yet been released, and follow recent federal approval to move forward with a state-based reinsurance program. 

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Under Peak’s leadership, Summit county successfully lowered hospital rates by 20%. These rates have not yet been approved by state officials and it is unclear exactly how much this new model will save Coloradans when 2020 rates are negotiated this fall. Gov. Polis has cited savings from anywhere between 18-20%. 

The co-op model suggests that employers can receive lower prices on health care costs if they collectively negotiate prices directly with doctors and hospitals. This essentially reallocates negotiating power away from insurance companies into the hands of the consumer. 

A number of Colorado counties have expressed interest in following Summit County’s lead by creating smaller scale version of the co-op model. Specific plans for implementation in other counties have not yet been released.